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Acupuncture and Chiropractic a clinical relationship
March, 2006

John A. Amaro L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM), FIAMA , DC ,

In its 110 year history, the science of Chiropractic through the adjustment of the spinal column, has achieved overwhelming, undisputed clinical response on millions of people worldwide. Even though the chiropractic profession which revolves around the correction of the vertebral subluxation (spinal misalignments and fixations) officially had its birth in 1895, the spine has been an avenue of approach for many professions over the centuries. It is a known fact almost every culture and nation through history has utilized some form of manual therapy of the spine for the correction and maintenance of health. Hippocrates “The Father of Medicine” is reputed to have said, “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease”. Neurologically, the vertebral column and the spinal nerve roots play a monumental role in human dysfunction, disease and pathology. It has been shown a chiropractic evaluation of a physiologically altered patient will invariably reveal reflexes which can be traced directly back to the spine, specifically to the vertebral nerve root of the visceral involvement.

I have often heard acupuncture practitioners addressing the approximately 24,000 Doctors of Chiropractic in the US who by individual State Law include clinical meridian acupuncture (not TCM) as part of their scope of practice pose the question, “How would the chiropractic profession like it if acupuncture practitioners (L.Ac., AP) were to begin focusing their attention and treating the spine”? Well, personally if you were to ask me, I think they would be darn fools if they didn't!!!!!

Just as the body's reflex points, trigger points, Heads postulates, Ayurvedic marma's and Asian /European acupuncture points cannot be claimed as specific ownership by any one group, nation or culture; likewise the spine does not specifically belong to the domain of the Chiropractic or Medical profession. Both acupuncture points and the spine because of their primordial anatomical presence, decry specific ownership.

The Chiropractic profession continues to maintain its right and guards its art, science and philosophy to be the only profession which specifically diagnosis's and treats the “vertebral subluxation” through spinal manipulative therapy or the chiropractic adjustment. This does not mean that no other licensed health practitioner to include acupuncturists cannot directly treat the spine; it just means not the detection and treatment of the vertebral subluxation. Why an acupuncturist, medical practitioner, physical therapist, massage therapist or any other professional would want to own that particular concept is beyond me. This parallels the dental profession who is the only profession licensed to diagnosis and treat disorders of the teeth and gums. However, that does not eliminate us as acupuncture practitioners to treat TMJ, facial palsy, tic douleroux and a host of other mouth and face related conditions to include neurogenic toothache. I think the last thing most L.Ac's are interested in doing is either diagnosing and treating subluxation of the spine or diagnosing and treating tooth and gum disorders. It seems like we have much more significant conditions to deal with.

Doctors of Chiropractic feel the primary way to reduce a vertebral subluxation or impingement syndrome due to spinal fixation is to manually move the vertebrae through a low amplitude, high speed thrust to the vertebral segment in question. This historically produces an audible release which most refer to as a “pop” or “crack”. The adjustment is not usually painful however the audible release is extremely disturbing to millions of potential patients who would never consider having a chiropractic adjustment because of the noise alone. Perhaps they are the same estimated 65% of the population which would never consider acupuncture because they are needle phobic.

One of the most significant approaches to the successful treatment of somato viscero and musculo-tendino conditions of the body is to utilize a historic approach from the archives of chiropractic which has produced absolutely magnificent clinical response. The procedure is one in which manipulation of the spinal segments can be substituted with stimulation of the acupuncture points directly at the vertebral level to include the DU, SHU and HuaTuojiaji points. This procedure has been practiced by both manipulation and reflex stimulation by DC's for decades with spectacular clinical response. It is a very quick, easy to apply and clinically significant approach which truly has few equals. The technique is perhaps best applied with a non-penetrating “Teishein” (pressure needle), quartz piezo stimulator, or low level laser. If one insists on using needle stimulation it is suggested needles be used only at the primary vertebrae in question (the one most fixated or sore to palpation) with the non-invasive methods to be used for all other stimulation sites. This will allow you to treat a multitude of patients instead of only a few. The results are not better with a full needle approach, just more time consuming.

There are six different reflex zones in the body which specifically control significant vertebral segments of the body. Any time a person has a particular health condition affecting one or more of the named reflex zones there are four specific vertebrae which are attributed to each and every zone. Palpate each of the four vertebrae and determine which of the four is the most painful on palpation. Treat the DU meridian point, the SHU point if it is present and the Hua Tuo point one half human inch bilateral to each of the vertebra. Please note there are many references to a point being located “between the spinous process” of a particular vertebrae. This means it is on the DU channel but no specific DU point is located at this point. Also note the Hua Tuo points have been extended in this graphic to include the entire cervical spine instead of from just T1 down to the sacrum. These reflex points have been used in chiropractic procedures for over 100 years . I have specifically made reference to the acupuncture point number as well as the vertebral segment as it was historically described in the practice of chiropractic. It is imperative to stimulate all points namely the DU, SHU and the Hua Tuo points at each specific level. This is extremely important. Please refer to Fig A for precise location of points.

Fig. A (For full size copy of this chart contact: )

Glandular Zone: The Glandular system of the body, controls any and all glands of the body and any diagnostic conditions related to the glands to include the thyroid, adrenal, spleen, pancreas, thymus, maxillary, sudoriferous (sweat), lymph, prostate, ovaries, uterus, appetite, energy, pituitary, pineal and every other structure of the body which falls under the category of “glandular”. The four specific reflex acupuncture points are: GV 16 (Occiput/Atlas), DU14 C7/T1, DU13 T1/T2-BL 11), DU5 L1/L2-BL22, and between spinous process of L5/S1 BL26.

Eliminative Zone: This zone specifically relates to the skin, bowels (large Intestine, rectum, small intestine), nasal, mucus, urinary tract (kidneys, bladder) lungs, sinuses. The four specific reflex acupuncture points are: DU 15 C1/C2-BL10, DU 12 T3/T4-BL13, between spinous process of T12/L1 -BL21), DU4 L2/L3-BL23.

Nerve Zone: This zone controls all functions of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system, sympathic, cerebro-spinal, ganglionic any and all neurogenic dysfunction. The four specific points are: between spinous of C3/C4 vertebrae, between spinous process of T4-T5-BL14, DU8 T9-T10-BL 18, and between spinous process of L3/L4 (BL24)

Digestive Zone: This zone regulates all matters of digestion and assimilation. The four specific points are: Between spinous process of C4/C5 vertebrae, between T4/T5-BL14), between spinous of T8/T9 (Weiguanxiashu), between spinous of L4/L5-BL25

Muscular Zone: This zone does exactly what its name implies namely any and all dysfunction, affliction or symptomatology of the musculo-skeletal-ligamento-tendino system of the body. The four specific points are: Between spinous process of C5/C6, DU11 T5/T6-BL15, DU10 T6/T7-BL16 GV, DU6 T11/T12-BL20, DU3 L4/L5-BL25, between spinous process of L5/S1-BL26 Gate of Origin)

Circulatory Zone: This zone controls any and all conditions related to impaired circulation, heart, arteries, veins, lymphatics high/low blood pressure, capillaries, etc. The four specific points are: Between spinous process of C6/C7, between spinous of T2/T3, DU7 T10/T11-BL19), DU5 L1/L2-BL22)

Stimulate each specific point by utilizing a teishein for 20 strokes in short blasts of five. The piezo may be used with three to five plunges over each specific point. Laser is used for 12-15 seconds per point with a 635nm 5mw red laser. Gua Sha is an extremely versatile instrument which has an exceptional approach to this treatment.

If one were to study and apply the principles shared in this article, I can assure you the success cases will abound. This may very well be one of the most significant approaches to health one will ever be presented with. Unfortunately this procedure has been lost to the vast majority of DC's however it is one in which definitely made chiropractic a very sought after treatment in the early days of its existence. Those acupuncturists who develop this procedure will be amply rewarded.

What you will learn by simply studying the chart provided here in Fig. A will no doubt alter the way you as a practitioner will approach and treat illness as it reflexes back to the spine.

Should you desire a full page copy of this extremely important chart in Fig A, please contact me with your request.

Best Wishes for many great successes utilizing this approach.

John A. Amaro L.Ac. Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM), FIAMA , DC,
Carefree, Arizona